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Sciatica

Sciatica is one of the most common causes of chronic pain and is often associated with various types of lower back pain. It is believed that as many as 40% of people will be diagnosed with sciatica at some point during their lifetime. People who are overweight, smoke regularly, don’t exercise, or experience chronic back pain are at a much higher risk of developing sciatic pain.

 

Sciatica

Sciatica is the result of the sciatic nerve being compromised in some way. It may become pinched between a bone spur and muscle or by a herniated disk that has shifted out of place. A tumor or cyst can also put pressure on the nerve resulting in intense pain and discomfort. Being overweight adds to the pressure and can often force the nerve deeper in between the bones and muscles. In some cases, your job may be the culprit.

 

Symptoms

Sciatica is characterized by pain that begins in your lower, or lumbar, areas of the spine. From there, the pain radiates downward, spreading into the buttocks and down through the hamstrings at the back of the legs. The pain and discomfort may be felt from the spine all the way to the foot. The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body and any type of pressure or compression on the nerve along that path can lead to pain.

 

Sciatica Treatment Options

For many people, pain medications, rest, and physical therapy are the most common forms of treatment. Light exercise and stretching may also help. In some cases, massage therapy can help to restore blood flow to the area and help to keep the muscles flexible during the healing process.

Sciatica is treated differently with each patient. This allows the doctor to take into account various factors that are unique to the individual. Pain that becomes intense over time and any feelings of tingling or numbness should be immediately reported to your doctor.


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